Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Test rode a couple of BMW cruisers today

The local BMW dealer had a couple of used R1200C Cruiser motorcycles for sale. Apparently this was BMW's entry into the Cruiser market, they apparently did not do well enough as a class to be continued though according to the salesguy.

They let me test ride both of them after signing away all my rights. I rode the R1200C with less mileage(11k+), better looking paintjob (no scratches), smaller saddlebags/windshield and less bling and farkle. It had a rocker gearshift which took some getting used to but she ran fine though I could hear some whining while accelerating which was bothersome. She also idles rough when compared to the smooth idle of my Honda Aero. Apparently that's normal for BMW motorcycles with their "boxer" engine. The vibrations quickly dissapear once you start rolling and its a very smooth and quiet ride. The route outlined by the salesguy involved a bit of highway driving and before I knew it I was doing 90 and the motorcycle was not really working hard! Nice.

The second R1200C had huge saddlebags, a huge windshield whose top edge was annoyingly right in my sight line so I found myself either trying to look through it or above it. This windshield produced heavy buffeting above 65mph to the point where I could not read the road signs and got a mild headache out of the short time I was on the highway. This one had floorboards and a custom shift lever which allowed very little room for the toe of my boot to slip under it to shift. I did not like this arrangement and neither did my left knee after several iterations of shifting up and down in traffic. This motorcycle though rode smoother than the previous R1220C without evidence of the whining noise the first one had exhibited. This motorcycle as about $1600 more in price due to all the farkle and such and had racked up over 32k in mileage.

As I rode back to work in my smoothly idling Honda Aero, I could not help but notice how much smoother the idle was. The R1200Cs where definitely more powerful and smoother once moving but the experience of riding them was not one that said to me: "Buy me now! I can't live without you."

Seemed to me also the exhaust note on my Honda was a bit louder than the beemers....I would have thought it'd be the other way around or perhaps I was not paying that much attention to the noise when riding the beemers since I was concentrating on not breaking the motorcycle. Nice riding motorcycles, we'll see what kind of trade-in offer the dealer makes me if any.

If these don't pan out, there's a nice looking R1150RT up at Sturgis that might be worth looking at.

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